Northern Fleet marines use clearly marked Red Cross vehicle as target and cover in ambushing drill

Exercising raid tactics in the Pechenga valley near Russia's border to Norway, a tracked vehicle marked to clearly identify medical personnel in the field was both attacked and used to transport non-medics, heavily armed soldiers.
April 02, 2021


The Northern Fleet Marine Brigade consists of some of Russia’s best-trained elite soldiers and should very well be aware of the law of armed conflicts, also when exercising.

This week, though, an easy-to-see Red Cross mark was in the center of the brigade’s ambush tactics training, photos made available to the press by the Northern Fleet show.

The photo gallery shows how a two-link Aleut all-terrain tracked vehicle came driving along a snow-covered road in the taiga forest, followed by what seems to be a two-section DT-10PM all-terrain tracked vehicle.

The Red Cross mark on the side door is clearly visible for the soldiers hidden in the snow a few tens of meters from the road. Then, the ambushing group starts shooting.

At least five heavily armed soldiers wearing camouflaged uniforms jump out with weapons well-equipped to repel the attack, the photos show. One soldier shoots with a belt-fed heavy machine from the roof just over the Red Cross sign.

All since the 1929 Geneva Convention, the Red Cross symbol on either civilian or military hospitals, vehicles, or aid centers was to be proof of their neutral status in conflicts.

On a vehicle like the one used by the Northern Fleet in this exercise, the Red Cross is a sign providing protection in removal, transportation and treatment of wounded and sick, or the administration of sanitary formations and establishments. Personnel inside should, according to the Geneva Convention, be entitled to respect and protection from their enemies.